Tuesday, 31 March 2009

April Fools Day

Tomorrow is April 1st, and the beginning of a brand new month... but also...

"The first of April, some do say
Is set apart for All Fools' Day
But why the people call it so
Nor I, nor they themselves do know
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment."

- Poor Robin's Almanac (1790)

So, what is April Fools Day and what are its origins?

It is commonly believed that in medieval France, New Year was celebrated on April 1st. Then in 1562, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar for the Christian world, changing New Year to January 1st. With no modern communications, news travelled slowly and new ideas were often questioned. Many people did not hear of the change, others chose to ignore it, while some merely forgot. These people were called fools. Invitations to non-existent ‘New Year’ parties were sent and other practical jokes were played. This jesting evolved over time into a tradition of playing pranks on the 1st of April.

Others believe that the origin began with celebrations at the Spring Equinox.

The custom eventually spread to England and Scotland, with widespread observance of the custom beginning in the 18th century.

April Fools Day has now developed into an international festival of fun, with different nationalities celebrating the day in a special way.

In England, tricks can be played only in the morning... or else you youself become the April Fool!

The English, Scotch and French eventually introduced the custom to their colonies in America. A favorite joke was to send someone on a "fool's errand"... for example, "go and buy me some tartan paint"... heh heh heh

In France and Italy, if someone plays a trick on you, you are the ‘fish of April’. By the month of April fish have only just hatched, and are therefore easy to catch.

Children stick paper fish to their friends’ backs and chocolate fish are found in the shops.

In Scotland, April Fools Day lasts for two days! The second day is called ‘Taily Day’ and tricks on this day involve the bottom (or the ‘tail’ in informal speech). Often a sign saying ‘kick me’ is stuck onto someone’s back without them knowing.
In Spain and Mexico, similar celebrations take place on December 28th. The day is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by Herod in his search for the baby Jesus. It eventually changed to a lighter commemoration of innocence involving pranks and trickery.

In 2008 the BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series 'Miracles of Evolution' had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, (which is still available on Youtube) which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet.
Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they "spend the winter basking in the tropical sun." A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins.

In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop! It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the corporation diplomatically replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

- Rachel x


  1. Lovely interesting post, with nice relevant pictures, I dont intend to be caught out!xxx

  2. Just checking for new posts! Hope you're not fighting the flu or anything? Maybe you're acting on that set near your home?

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  6. interested.

    Some explanations on the origin of the April Fools'day:


  7. So interesting! I have connected your post in my blog in case my students are interested in knowing more about April Fools' Day. I hope you don't mind! Thanks.

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